the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Fact Sheet: The United States and Germany -- Leaders for the 21st Century

President Obama is hosting German Chancellor Angela Merkel for an Official Visit June 6-7, which includes a State Dinner, where he is presenting the Chancellor with the Medal of Freedom in recognition of her many contributions to freedom, peace and security in Europe and around the world.  The visit reaffirms the strong ties between the United States and Germany, which are grounded in common heritage, ideals, values and interests and encompass a wide variety of endeavors, including cooperating on defense and security, fostering economic development and prosperity, advancing science and technology, and promoting democracy and human rights. 

Defense and Security Cooperation: The United States and Germany are committed to each other’s defense and partner in critical crisis areas around the world, taking on difficult challenges, from combating terrorism to stemming nuclear proliferation.

  • Linchpin of the NATO Alliance: Germany enables the United States to maintain a strong and robust transatlantic relationship with its European partners and allies by hosting 51,000 U.S. troops, several U.S. military commands and the largest U.S. military training center and military medical facility outside the United States.  The strong U.S. presence in Germany also demonstrates our commitment to European security and collective defense.
  • Afghanistan: Germany has been a key contributor from the start of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission and has the third largest contingent with 5,000-plus troops.  It leads Regional Command North, commands two Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRTs), and operates the logistical support base for all forces in the region, including 5,000 U.S. troops.   
  • Iran sanctions:  Germany's role in the United Nations, European Union, and G8 is critical to building international consensus.  
  • Counterterrorism: Through the Security Cooperation Group, the Department of Homeland Security and the German Federal Ministry of Interior have forged close bilateral cooperation on aviation security, cyber-security, countering violent extremism and transnational crime.

Economic Prosperity: The United States and Germany have a dynamic economic partnership with high levels of trade, investment and private sector job creation.

  • Jobs: Exports to Germany support roughly 400,000 U.S. jobs.  In 2008, 722,700 Americans worked for German headquartered companies.  American headquartered firms in Germany employ 671,500 Germans.  In the past year, two German firms opened U.S. plants of several billion dollar value, employing thousands of U.S. workers.
  • Investment: Germany is among the top five largest sources of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the U.S., with a total stock of $218 billion.  The total stock of U.S. FDI in Germany reaches more than $116 billion. 
  • Trade: Germany is the sixth largest export market for the United States.  In 2010, U.S. goods and services exports to Germany rose to $73.5 billion.  German goods and services exports to the United States in 2010 were $113.7 billion. 

Cultural ties: About one quarter of Americans trace their ancestry to Germany and many American traditions originate in German models.   Cultural relations and people-to-people exchanges between the United States and Germany are dynamic.

  • Education: over 1,500 American and German higher-education institutions are partnered with one another.
  • Exchange and Partnership: 170 German and American cities have partnerships.   The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program annually selects 700 American and German young people to represent their country in reciprocal visits.

Science and Technology (S&T):  The United States and Germany recognize the many shared benefits of cooperation in S&T and are committed to pursue a wide range of joint efforts in S&T research and development.

  • Wide-Ranging Collaboration: More than 50 bilateral cooperation agreements spur work on renewable energy research and green jobs, medical and agricultural research, technological improvements for national defense and security as well as outer space.  Collaboration exists among laboratories, universities, scientific societies, think tanks, and government agencies in advanced manufacturing, clean energy, health and nutrition, space, and national security.  The United States and Germany entered into an S&T Cooperation Agreement in 2010, and the first Joint Committee Meeting will be held in Berlin in September 2011.